Friday, November 19, 2010
I wish I had known in high school
People who tell you they do not regret anything in their lives are liars. "If I would have changed anything, I wouldn’t be where I am today, every step mattered." That is the normal argument. That's bull.
You get where you are today because of what type of person you are. Wishing you could go back and not shoplift from that store when you were 14 would not somehow mutate you into a person who didn't learn from mistakes and became a bank robber.
If that is actually the case, and every little thing has vast effect on how my life turns out, I have to be more careful.
Since that is not true, I am free to regret many things that I did in my past. I would change tons of stuff. High school especially could have been so much better if I had known some things I know today.
The first thing I wish I knew in high school was how little high school matters. Everything seemed like a big deal when, really, nothing was a big deal. I am not so much talking about the learning aspect of it. That was important. But that was also the easiest part of high school. Learning/studying/test-taking was a piece of cake. I don’t recall ever failing any single test in my four years. Hell, I don’t think I ever got more than one or two C’s.
The part that didn’t matter but which seemed hard at the time was being a high schooler. Acting how you thought you should act rather than how you wanted to act seemed to be an important high school skill. Talking to girls was a high school skill I never acquired until long past graduation. Making friends was easy, but making good friends was hard. I knew a lot of people (pretty much every single person in my school) but, looking back, wouldn’t consider myself good friends with more than just a few. Even now, I only still communicate with a handful of people I went to high school with.
But my high school regrets go beyond the schoolhouse.
In high school I wish I had known to be more of a Jay-Z guy than a Nas guy. Now, I’m stuck with Illmatic, which is great, but have no old Blueprint CDs and listening to Empire State of Mind feels like hopping on the bandwagon of perhaps the most famous male musician going today.
I wish I had known to not quit playing an instrument myself. Actually, I quit playing the saxophone in middle school technically, so I suppose I wish I had started playing drums or something in high school. It’d be fun to be musically inclined in my life today. Instead, I am forced to take people’s word for it when they tell me if some melody is in perfect harmony. In fact, I don’t even know if that sentence makes sense.
I wish I had ridden a bike around in high school. I wish I had ridden a bike at all; I wish I owned a bike in high school. We weren’t bicycle children. Now, I have no cycle stamina in a situation where I could feasibly ride my bike to work everyday.
Probably the thing I wish I knew the most was who would end up winning the 2001 World Series. Boy would that have saved me a lot of heart ache. If ahead of time I knew about the broken bat single by Luis Gonzalez that would have been excellent. I could still have been pissed, but I wouldn’t have been heart broken. I mean, all those late inning home runs, by Jeter and by Brosius; Byung-Hyun Kim, how could the Yankees lose?
I also wish I had been aware of the New England Patriots’ up-coming title run. Not because that particularly bothered me, but because I could have made a lot of money. That came out of nowhere. The odds would have been tremendous, especially in 2001.
As far as sports in my personal high school life, I wish I had known to work harder. I wish I had known how cool it would have been looking back if I was a star of the high school basketball team. It wouldn’t have mattered to anyone but me probably, but who else matters? Instead, I didn’t like it, ending up playing in the town leagues and dominating when I still didn’t really know how to push myself.
In high school, I wish I had gone to more New York Knicks games. Not because I wanted to see them play, but to see the other guys play, the guys who are gone now. There were games when Jordan played at Madison Square Garden while I was in high school; Iverson played there as well, and now he’s off playing in Turkey, most likely ending his American basketball career. Tim Duncan and Kobe played there back when they were young and chipper. A handful of the top 50 players of all time played just an hour or so from my house on numerous occasions and I never took advantage. I went to one Knicks game that I can remember now. I think they played the Pacers, so...yeah.
High school would have been better if I had known about the steroids in baseball. No, it wouldn’t have changed my opinion of Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire. And no, I wouldn’t have liked baseball more now or less then. But knowing what era you’re in while you’re watching would have been a real time saver. Now I’m forced to debate whether players like Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas and Larry Walker were actually good or were just part of the era. Their Hall of Fame numbers are a lot better than some current hall members, but I didn’t watch carefully enough in high school to make judgments now...ya know, if for some reason I had an MLB Hall of Fame vote.
I wish I had started writing a lot more in high school, and then into college. Instead, I just started this blog in 2010, am learning on the fly, and am no closer to becoming a famous baseball writer who is given an MLB Hall of Fame vote.
Maybe by the time the stars of today are eligible, I'll have that vote, and will be able to fairly judge their career performances compared to players of years past. For now, I'll hope the current voters make the right decisions (which they often do not) and look back, wondering what could have been.
(Image taken from trulia.com/diana_santos)